Color Blindness: What Causes It And Who’s At Risk?

March 29, 2023

Color blindness affects millions of people in the U.S. Males are far more likely to have this inability to distinguish between certain colors. What are the causes behind color blindness, who is most at risk, and what does it mean for your vision? Our ophthalmologist at Brook Plaza Ophthalmology is a medical doctor specially trained to diagnose all conditions affecting the eyes, and can provide answers to these questions. We advise patients to schedule regular examinations to screen for any condition that may affect the health and quality of their vision.

Color blindness happens when the light-detecting cells in the retina aren’t working properly, or sometimes when these cells aren’t present. Our brains use these cells, called rods and cones, for perceiving colors. Color blindness can occur if one or more cones are missing, not working, or sensing an inaccurate color. A mild form can occur from just one missing or malfunctioning cone, while severe color blindness can arise if all three cone cells are absent.

Typical symptoms are the inability to distinguish colors, their brightness and shades, mostly with red and green, or blue and yellow. Color blindness is usually congenital but can be acquired as we age, usually as a result of diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration, chronic alcoholism, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Some drugs can also trigger these symptoms. The sharpness of our vision is usually unaffected, unless the condition is severe.

This condition typically affects both eyes equally and remains stable over time. It is critically important to contact our ophthalmologist at Brook Plaza Ophthalmology if you experience any significant change in color perception. This may indicate the existence of a serious condition. We have the expertise and technology to detect a spectrum of conditions affecting our vision and to recommend treatment. Please contact our office today for an appointment.